Shards Moddability

Even though its be mentioned, touted, and shouted, I think that a bit of explanation is in order about the Moddability of Shards.
First of all, in terms of systems and working, Shards is being designed from the ground up, to allow for easy modding. And when we say modding, we don’t mean hey just change the color scheme or theme on the UI.

“From the ground up” – no we aren’t just using that phrase because its a buzz word in the software development field implying that we re-invented the wheel by finding a new process to making it round. What we are doing, is designing a game layer on top of layer, start to finish. How we are turning that on its head, design and implement those layers so pieces of each layer can be modified, swapped, replaced, or even eliminated to change how the game plays or even make it entirely new. Change one, a few, or all pieces in a layer, in some cases replace the whole layer or take it out completely.

Really, No Bull.

  • Feeling goofy, take out the combat damage, have everyone run around and whack each other but nobody takes damage.
  • Feling really goofy, make people take damage whenever the letter “e” is used in chat.
  • Feeling nostalgic, create dice and a duel arena, then use the dice to decide when attacks hit using old D&D rules. (Actually I think I may do that one this week, it sounds hilarious)

Just want to create a shard with your own take on magic spells and abilities, just modify the existing ones.

Want to create a new magic skill like rainbow flatulence magical cloud scents, fine go ahead.

Cross species animal breeding system? Shoot why not, I’ve always wanted a flying spider pig monkey skunk.

Shards is a sandbox. We are putting together one helluva sand box. We are building worlds, and stories and ultimately realities for players to enjoy. But, as gamers we know, we know that no matter what game you play, how great a world, there’s always the what if?, or why don’t?, or could they? questions to push the envelope of game worlds. Shards is a vehicle for use to do that, and while doing that give that same ability to everyone else.

So we’ll give you worlds, we’ll give you buildings, we’ll give you building blocks, we’ll give you cement.

We’ll cook you dinner, give you a doggy bag, a wide range of ingredients and extra spices even the freakin’ recipe.


6 responses

  1. First of all that sounds great.
    I self Played (and designet) about 10 Years on Ultima Online Roleplaying (Freeshards).

    My question is how dynamic and interactive is the Map and the Objects in the World?
    Like in Ultima you had these static objects (like Trees). You could for example chop a tree and gain wood from it but you never could destroy the tree forever because it was static.

    Back in 2005 i wanted to create a Ultima Shard whit a new map, where player have to colonize a wild island (chop down forests an setup a colony/city) an so on. I hope Shards Online will give us the power to make such things come true!

    • Bruce Bonnick

      Currently our maps vary in degree of how much is part of the map and what is dynamic. It wouldn’t be hard to add more dynamic items or less dynamic items to change the map as you see fit. So you could easily add a forest or just an errant tree. Really the limitation would only be in how much you want the server to keep track of.

      • Thanks, sounds good.

        Just one more question 🙂

        Which scripting language will be used for Shards or do it use its own scripting language?

        • Bruce Bonnick

          We are using Lua with a lot of functionality added.

  2. Don

    I like that you’ve adopted a layered, modular approach. I’ll be tempted to play, AND tempted to code.

    So if I want to create, for example, a roving band of non-player characters who use smart battlefield tactics, will I basically be writing one module to encapsulate all the combat tactics?

    Will there be a documented API to the lower layers, so I can get things like “where the players are” and “stuff I can hide behind” and “damage to my team so far?”

    • Bruce Bonnick

      Well you could put it in one if you wanted to we’ve come up with an interesting way to do it by allowing modules to communicate back and forth.

      For example, we have some warriors and mages. They have a base AI module which they use for movement , target acquisition, and information gathering. Then we have a couple of custom AI modules such as the mage AI and the warrior AI which control those special behaviors. When fighting the mage AI module will send requests to the base AI, such as move to this range, or get in defensive stance. The base AI handles that request and then determines based on any other input received if it will actually do it. So if you stuck both AI modules on the same NPC, and the warrior module told the base module to charge, and the mage module said hang back, the base AI module would make the final decision on what action to take.
      That is just the way we happened to do it for those NPCs, some run their own custom AI module which doesn’t communicate with a base module at all.

      The goal of the base module making the decisions and not having to be aware of the other modules was so that by adding modules you are able to obtain truly different, and smarter behavior. So that a rogue/mage actually behaves like a smart combination of the two rather than just a rogue who happens to cast spells. Expect him to teleport in and backstab you without having to specifically be told that it can do that.

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